Life is a journey, and when obstacles come up it can be challenging to find a way through it.
When it comes to managing our health, we need the basics first. We need proper shelter, healthy food, transportation, health care options, education, and jobs. On an emotional level, we need support from people to feel belonging, purpose, and help maintain a positive mindset. Lastly, we need to have an awareness that resources exist to help people fulfill these needs and a drive to seek them out.
But with all the resources available in scatter, where does one begin? It can be overwhelming. As of such, it's easy to stay at the bottom of the mountain and give up on reaching the summit to good health.
This is where My LivWel steps in.
We want you to live well, and we also know that it can be challenging and uncomfortable to navigate the steps to take. My LivWel aims to reduce this complexity by providing an online platform that lists these available resources in one place. This includes resources to education, organizations, and community events.
What's even more important is that this resource is created by people in your community, people like you. In addition, you can share and explore the personal stories of people who are on a similar journey. You don't have to travel alone.
You can take the initiative and first step toward good health. This is your resource backpack for your journey to living well, My LivWel.
The mission for My LivWel is to provide an accessible library of resources and support for those living with or at risk for HIV as well as for those family and friends effected by their loved ones. It's a starting point for finding a step that gets someone closer to the summit of better health.
This project was inspired by a life-changing journey when my sibling ran away from home for unknown reasons. It turns out he had contracted HIV and had denied treatment and his connections because of the shame and stigma. Flash forward three years later we were tearfully reunited, but we learned he was days away from his death bed as his condition rapidly deteriorated to severe AIDS, which also resulted in other opportunistic infections that affected his daily life due to his weakened immune system.
This experience raised many questions for me. To better educate myself on the situation, I had to do a lot of research that wasn't exactly easy, especially when emotions get in the mix. How do people diagnosed with HIV do research and outreach for help? In addition, how can the education speak louder than the stereotypes of HIV being a death sentence? What are the best organizations to get connected with, and how do I find them outside of a brochure handout I'm too scared to pick up in person? Where to even start, let alone continue the needed care when you pass the starting mark?
I’m happy to report a positive ending. My brother inspires me because he persevered through the fight and continues to beat it by living a normal, healthy life today with a positive attitude and endless love of every moment of each day. He truly is a walking miracle, and I'm so blessed to have him back in my life.
My career experience is in graphic and web design, and I have a masters degree from the University of Michigan School of Information in Human Computer Interaction. Using the skills that I do know, I started My LivWel as a side passion project to make a positive impact and create an environment that could help others because this backstory is unfortunately not unique. Whether you are living with HIV/AIDS, are at risk for it, or know someone living with this virus, I wanted to help provide access to education, resources, and most importantly support. Too often difficult times can leave people feeling at their most lonely, but the truth of the matter is that there is help out there.
There is support.
Come join us on our journey to help you and others live well.